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Double Check: Are These 13 Reasons Why Your Kids Shouldn’t Get Vaccinated?

Double Check: Are These 13 Reasons Why Your Kids Shouldn’t Get Vaccinated?

Written by Devika Khandelwal and Alice Franklin

A recent article from the influential conspiracy-theory-based site, the Daily Expose (sometimes known as just the Exposé), listed what it alleges are “13 reasons why your kids shouldn’t get vaccinated.” 

In this listicle, the anonymous author variously misrepresents scientific studies and misinterprets data from legitimate sources, cherry-picking the numbers that suit the publication’s anti-vax agenda. They also bombard the reader with data removed from their original contexts to bamboozle them. Indeed, this seems to be a strategy of the site; in its misinforming articles, numbers, tables, and graphs abound. This gives the Daily Expose an air of scientific seriousness but, of course, the Daily Expose has no such thing. 

Devika Khandelwal and I took a look at the 13 reasons cited in the article and found that most were false or misleading. With this in mind, here are 13 reasons why you shouldn’t trust the Daily Expose.

1. MISLEADING: In the clinical trials, 86 percent of children suffered an adverse reaction to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The article conflates "mild and moderate pain at the injection site" with "severe side effects" to mislead people. There were no severe adverse reactions in the Pfizer clinical trials. Severe side effects from vaccination are rare. This information is publically available in the FDA's own data that the Daily Expose cites.

Read the full fact check here.

2. FALSE: 1 in 9 children suffered a severe adverse reaction leaving them unable to perform daily activities in the Pfizer clinical trial.

In a clinical trial for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 5 out of 1131 children suffered from serious adverse events. This equates to 0.4 percent, meaning that 1 in 125 children suffered from adverse events, which still doesn't mean that they were unable to perform daily activities. It could have meant that they had severe, but temporary, symptoms.

Read the full fact check here.

3. FALSE: Since March 2020, nine children have died from COVID-19.

In total, 48 children have died of COVID-19 in the U.K. Of those children, 9 had no pre-existing conditions or comorbidities.

Read the full fact check here.

4. TRUE: The risk of children developing serious illness due to COVID-19 is extremely low.

As Harvard Health has reported, "Children, including very young children, can develop COVID-19. Many of them have no symptoms. Those that do get sick tend to experience milder symptoms such as low-grade fever, fatigue, and cough."

A study co-led by researchers at UCL, the University of Bristol, the University of York, and the University of Liverpool also found that "The risk of severe illness and death from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is extremely low in children and teenagers," but adds that COVID-19 "increases the likelihood of serious illness in the most vulnerable young people, those with pre-existing medical conditions and severe disabilities, although these risks remain low overall."

Read the full fact check here.

5. FALSE: The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is experimental; it is still in clinical trials.

All three phases of the trials were undertaken concurrently, and the bureaucratic roadblocks were removed. For decades, scientists have studied mRNA, which is used in the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. While the long-term side effects of this vaccine are unknown for obvious reasons, rigorous testing and monitoring have shown that the vaccine prevents developing serious illness if infected with COVID-19 and that adverse side effects are rare.

Read the full fact check here.

6. MISLEADING: Studies from the CDC, U.K. government, and Oxford University have deemed COVID-19 vaccines ineffective.

Even though the data quoted by the Daily Expose is real, the information has been taken significantly out of context, and the conclusion does not follow. The CDC study in question followed 469 COVID-19 cases in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, many of which were the Delta variant. The paper recommended expanded prevention strategies, including universal masking in indoor public settings, but does not allude to COVID-19 vaccines being ineffective. The Daily Expose has also misinterpreted a preprint paper by the Oxford University Clinical Research Group.

Read the full fact check here.

7. MISLEADING: The majority of COVID-19 deaths are among the vaccinated, which shows that vaccines worsen COVID-19.

In recent days, the BBC has reported that, according to data from the Office for National Statistics, "Out of more than 51,000 Covid deaths in England between January and July 2021, only 256 occurred after two doses," stating that, according to data from the Office of National Statistics, "Covid deaths rare among the fully vaccinated." The claim that vaccines worsen COVID-19 disease is false.

Read the full fact check here.

8. FALSE: There have been at least 1.18 million adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines in the U.K. alone.

To support this claim, the Daily Expose uses data from the Yellow Card Scheme in an entirely misleading way. As the Yellow Card website clearly states, "reported events are not always proven side effects." The article implies that the vaccines have caused 1.18 million adverse reactions, and implies that those adverse reactions were all severe, which is untrue.

Read the full fact check here.

9. MISLEADING: There have been more deaths in 8 months due to the COVID-19 vaccines than there have been due to all other available vaccines in 21 years.

The Daily Expose uses the Yellow Card Scheme data to claim that more people have died from COVID-19 vaccines. However, it is repackaging raw and unverified data from the Yellow Card Scheme to push an anti-vax narrative and support its claim.

Read the full fact check here.

10. MISLEADING: There is a high risk of myocarditis in children due to the Pfizer Vaccine.

Myocarditis in children is a rare side effect of mRNA vaccines. The risk of myocarditis from COVID-19 is higher.

Read the full fact check here.

11. FALSE: Children have died and are dying due to the COVID-19 vaccines.

There is no evidence that children are dying due to COVID-19 vaccines. The data in question is from OpenVAERS: "a website dedicated to the misrepresentation of COVID-19 vaccine data." The site repackages and presents raw, unassessed data collected on VAERS and publishes it in a way that has likely made a significant contribution to vaccine hesitancy.

Read the full fact check here. 

12. MISLEADING: GPs are incentivized to inject the adult population with the COVID-19 vaccine.

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination is a money-making exercise for doctors. While it is true that GPs across the U.K. are being paid to administer the jab, the fee is extremely small. This is not so they can pocket huge profits. It is because "general practices operate as small businesses, and the funding is available to ensure they can afford to offer the vaccination service to their patients."

Read the full fact check here.

13. PARTLY TRUE: The JCVI refused to recommend the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children.

This claim relies on a JCVI statement from September 3, which was about whether children aged 12 to 15 who have underlying health conditions should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. By this time, many children were already eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Since July, children aged 12–15 years with "conditions resulting in immunosuppression, profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD), severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register" have been eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Since August, all children aged 16 or 17 have been eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Read the full fact check here. 

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